• Wed, Jan 29 - 3:00 pm ET

New Mannequins Have “Imperfections” Like Back Fat And Saggy Boobs

elaine mannequinI’ve always been creeped out by mannequins. I wonder if making them more lifelike will make me more or less uncomfortable?

Alternative mannequins are becoming something of a trend. Perhaps the faceless, armless mannequins of yore are on their way out and new, more personal mannequins are on their way in. Per the New York Daily News (emphasis mine):

Wings Beachwear’s mannequins in Miami sport flower tattoos like some of the women who shop there. The mannequins at American Apparel’s downtown New York City store have pubic hair peeking through their lingerie. And at David’s Bridal, mannequins soon will get thicker waists, saggier breasts and back fat to mimic a more realistic shape.

Wings Beachwear and American Apparel’s stylized mannequins seem like branding initiatives, while the new David’s Bridal mannequins are a part of an effort to make shoppers more comfortable, perhaps comfortable enough to buy wedding dresses.

Recent market research by NPD Group Inc indicates that mannequins influence shoppers’ buying decisions nearly as much as input from friends and family. It would behove retailers to determine what kind of mannequins make potential buyers want to spend their cash. The suits at David’s Bridal believe that the optimal mannequin is one more reflective of their customers body types.

The vice president of the bridal chain, Michele Von Plato says that the new mannequins “will give [shoppers] a better idea of what the dress will look like on her.” It makes sense that women would like to see the clothes they are about to buy on figures that are more similar to their own rather than the typical “aspirational” thin mannequins we are used to seeing.

David’s Bridal determined “what the average woman looks like and applied those measurements to its first mannequins,” by scanning thousands of women’s bodies. Compared to the old mannequin figures, the new models have a smaller bust to hip ratio, breasts that are fuller underneath and flatter on top and will “now show the imperfections of getting heavier, with bulges in certain places like the belly and back.” Those alleged imperfections will set these mannequins apart from other plus-size mannequins that tend to just be larger versions of typical mannequins.

Though mannequins with pubic hair and tattoos are meant to grab attention, the forms meant to actually replicate human bodies are intended to alter the shopper’s experience. David’s Bridal will be  is “focusing on the initial impression and the emotional connection,” between consumers and mannequins. At first, I was sort of into the idea, but then I remembered the uncanny valley and got uncomfortable.

If you ever want to feel emotionally connected to a Mannequin, might I suggest that episode of the Twilight Zone called “After Hours” or the 1987 feature film, Mannequin. 

via NY Daily News//Image via Seinfeld

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  • Eileen

    The main issue I have with mannequins is how tall they are. How am I supposed to know if that dress is a work-appropriate length if the mannequin’s legs are five times as long as mine?

    • Joanna Rafael

      THIS. (I’m 5’3″)

  • Chuck

    Awaiting the men version! I still see six-pack male mannequins and more shirtless than female version.